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View Diary: Judge sentences ex-teacher to 30 years for raping student who killed herself. No wait, 30 DAYS! (142 comments)

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  •  WITHOUT being in the courtroom, (5+ / 0-)

    think for a moment about the factors that automatically weigh against a woman wanting to bring domestic abuse charges against such a powerful and connected man.

    True, she could have made it all up, faked the beating, everything; she could be playing us all. I'd rate it as more likely that her husband grasped his relative un-touchability in the situation, and took full advantage of that.

    What have his ex-wives said? (I reckon a wealthy man of that age has probably had a few.) Too bad their testimony probably wasn't admitted for evidence.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 10:48:18 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I agree about all those factors. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, Lujane, Victor Ward, MGross, VClib

      And women don't tend to lie about these things.  But this is a weird case. Reading all the Merc-News stories ...

      But while Ellena Berg, 37, readily answered the first of many softball questions from prosecutor Alison Filo about how she and her now-74-year-old husband met (while the Swedish native was working for a local family as an au pair) and about why they married (so she could stay in the United States), she shocked the court by flatly refusing to answer two key questions during her 90 minutes of testimony. She is set to take the stand again Wednesday morning.

      The questions had to do with what happened the night in 2010 when she was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against her husband and what happened to end her two previous pregnancies.

      "I refuse to answer that,'' she said in response to one of the questions, prompting Judge Ron M. Del Pozzo's eyes to widen.

      It was too early to tell what ultimate effect Ellena Berg's reticence will have on the judge and on the prosecution. But her refusal, while not unheard of, is highly unusual.

      If she also declines to answer multiple questions at trial, the defense could seek to have her entire testimony struck on the grounds that Berg was denied his constitutional right to confront his accuser.

      It's certainly possible that the trauma she endured could also explain her behavior.

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